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Glitch Festival is Malta's unmissable house and techno experience

A wonderfully warm vibe on the Mediterranean island

  • Words: Marc Rowlands | Photos: Daryl Cauchi, Melvin Mifsud, Dragana Rankovic
  • 29 September 2017

Fireworks erupt from behind the already spectacularly lit, Fortress themed main stage on Glitch Festival's opening night. Maceo Plex, who follows Jon Hopkins and Recondite, is reaching a peak of driving techno that will draw to a 2am end the proceedings on this large outdoor arena. But there are several hours remaining on smaller, alternate stages where the likes of Blawan and DJ Stingray are holding court. With the second weekend of September upon us Europe's summer festival is drawing to a close. The realisation hit hard. But there are still a few opportunities to head south and dance outside in the balmy outdoors and as the three days progress Mixmag learns we have selected well in choosing Glitch.

Malta holds almost half the land mass of Ibiza yet boasts a permanent residency over three times larger than that of its distant neighbour. As a result, Malta's club scene is not merely seasonal and aimed towards tourists but vies year round for the attentions of audiences who, despite their isolation in the middle of the Mediterranean, are extremely clued up and enthusiastic clubbers. Their language may sound more indebted to north Africa, which lies around 300 kilometres away, but the musical tastes of the youth on the densely populated main island are more akin to that of their closer European cousins.

Indeed, such is the competition here that in 2016 Paul Kalkbrenner appeared at a party elsewhere on the island at the same time as Glitch Festival. The fact that nobody attempts a rival party in 2017 attests to the recognition that, thanks to its ambition, wowing production and ability to draw the party peoples together, Glitch Festival has become a unique and unmissable fixture within Malta's clubbing calendar.

Attendees from Ireland, England and Italy are encountered during the festival's three days, some already holidaying on the island, others attracted to Malta chiefly by Glitch Festival's well deserved reputation and enticing line up, which features main stage sets from Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann, Legowelt and Mr. G on its second night, with Dax J, DJ Seinfeld and Palms Trax elsewhere. But over half of the people here are Maltese, dancing in t shirts and shorts beneath the same palm trees under which DJ Stingray had played wearing a ski mask. Everyone is friendly and approachable. Everyone speaks excellent English.

A surprise storm of such ferocity that it threatens Friday's proceedings passes quickly enabling the last night to run almost as planned. And by Saturday's farewell boat party the sun has returned with force. We're thankful for the boat's sheltering roof. The 350 or so who have taken the ride are treated to a live set by Malta's Jupiter Jax before DJ Seinfeld brings out the disco vibes and Space Dimension Controller embarks on a near nihilistic set of eclecticism that culminates in Balearic pop classics well suited to the now alcohol primed dancers. In his later selections he seems as reticent as we to bid farewell to this Mediterranean summer, but the sights, sounds and wonderfully warm vibe of Glitch Festival are a highlight on which we're pleased the memories will rest.

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